Breathing Techniques Associated With Improved Health Outcomes
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Purpose: To determine if there is evidence to support teaching purposeful breathing techniques to patients for the improvement of health outcomes. Method: A comprehensive search of literature between 2009 and the present provided 6410 articles of possible interest. A total of 26 met the criteria for inclusion in this review. Two tables were prepared to provide a condensed summary of the significant results. Findings: Evidence in the literature supports trained breathing techniques to improve health care outcomes for a variety of issues including anxiety, diabetes, autonomic nervous system disorders, gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD), hypertension, immune function, oxidative stress and pain. Conclusions: Teaching breathing techniques provides a simple solution for improving patient health outcomes in a cost effective way in primary care settings. Recommendations: Among the forms of breathing techniques studied, teaching diaphragmatic, deep abdominal breathing or specific nostril breathing techniques may be the easiest to teach effectively in a fast paced family practice setting. Other techniques could be provided by developing a simple pamphlet, through a variety of informatics, or formal classroom types of training sessions. Key words: breath, breath work, breathing exercises, "breath* technique*" and health*, diaphragmatic, yoga, pranayama, autonomic nervous system, GERD, hypertension, anxiety, diabetes, pain, immunity, oxidative stress.
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